Kohli is asked about Dhoni: “It’s very unfortunate that people jump to conclusions. When it doesn’t go well people pounce on him. It was a bad day for everyone. The idea was to take the innings deep.”
Still, amid all that Dhoni nonsense we should say a word for Joe Root, who got a nicely paced century (although, hands up, even at a strike rate of about 97 I thought might have been a bit slow before Dhoni came to the crease), plus England’s spinners, who were both exceptional. Hats off also to Mo Ali and Adil Rashid, who between them got 3-80 in their combined 20 overs.
Well then. What a weird game. When Dhoni and Pandya were together you could understand the former being cautious – he frequently takes his time, holds his nerve etc – but he never stopped being cautious. He held his nerve for too long. Genuinely don’t know what he was doing: he looked out of touch, but he just didn’t even seem to try many attacking shots. He scored 37 from 59 balls, which featured 31 dot balls. 31!
England win by 86 runs
WICKET! Chahal c Stokes b Willey 12 – India 236 all out
Chahal plays another nice shot, a square drive that Bairstow cuts off. He then plays a miscued pull that is still better than most shots Dhoni played. And then a big drive that he edges through where second slip would have been, getting four, before sending the last ball down long-on’s throat.
49th over: India 227-9 (Kuldeep 8, Chahal 4) – target 323 Obviously it doesn’t matter now but the penultimate over of a one day international is a maiden. Good lord guys, just throw the bat at one. If you get out, all the better.
48th over: India 227-9 (Kuldeep 8, Chahal 4) – target 323 It has been pointed out that Dhoni does this sort of thing a fair bit, which he does, but that’s usually because he’s just waiting for the right moment to pounce. In this innings he just stayed in the tall grass, reading a bloody book or something. Meanwhile, Chahal shows more intent than his senior colleague ever did by driving very nicely for a straight four. Then there’s a bit of slapstick where Chahal might have been run out twice, everyone has a good laugh and we all want to go home.
47th over: India 222-9 (Kuldeep 7, Chahal 0) – target 323 India have to rely on a pretty harsh call to get a few runs: Plunkett slides down leg, and it looks like it flicked Chahal’s pads, but wides are given.
WICKET! Siddharth Kaul lbw b Plunkett 1 – India 217-9
Sorry, that was new batsman Siddharth Kaul. The review found no bat involved, and it was heading for middle/leg.
Siddharth looks to be caught dead in front but reviews, because he might as well.
WICKET! Dhoni c Stokes b Plunkett 37 (from 59 balls) – India 215-8
Two Indian subs come on, possibly to enquire what the bloody hell Dhoni thinks he’s playing at. Maybe the message gets through, as he finally goes for a big shot, and sends it straight to Stokes at cow corner. Good riddance. I hope someone asks him what he was doing out there after this.
46th over: India 215-7 (Dhoni 37, Kuldeep 6) – target 323 Dhoni turns down a single to the cover sweeper, and the boos and slow handclaps start. It’s not the main point, but an innings like this really is cheating the spectators who have paid top prices for tickets to a Lord’s international. Sarcastic cheers greet a single. Jos Buttler is holding his glove over his mouth, possibly to stop laughing at this absolute sh*tshow.
45th over: India 213-7 (Dhoni 36, Kuldeep 6) – target 323 My god. Almost as if he wants Dhoni to try something, Plunkett sends down a wide long hop, and Dhoni simply dabs it into the covers. Then something approaching an attacking shot, but his pull goes straight to fine leg and Dhoni strolls – strolls! – a single. Really, Dhoni is/has been a great player, but this is abysmal. 36 runs from 53 balls. I ask you. Three singles from that over. Just call it off now.
44th over: India 210-7 (Dhoni 34, Kuldeep 5) – target 323 Dave Willey is back, and beats Kuldeep as he tries a pleasant dab down to third man. What is going on here? Have India given up? Did they give up a while ago? A single brings the FEARSOME hitting of Dhoni to the strike, who opens up his BARRAGE with two GENTLE dabs to point, one of which brings him a SINGLE. 113 runs required from 36 balls – starting to look unlikely for India, this…
43rd over: India 208-7 (Dhoni 33, Kuldeep 4) – target 323 A boundary! My days, a boundary! Great shot from Dhoni in fairness, a flowing drive through the covers that beats the best efforts of three fielders. Another single allows Plunkett to send a few short ones down that Kuldeep fences at, then leaves one! He leaves one! Sweet Moses, this has been a properly surreal chase. And then Kuldeep takes a single from the last ball of the over so he keeps the strike! Maybe he’s annoyed at Dhoni too.
42nd over: India 202-7 (Dhoni 28, Kuldeep 3) – target 323 Dhoni plays an attacking shot! Off the back foot, straight down the ground, and a brilliant diving effort from Stokes keeps it to two. Then back to normal, a dabbed single down to deep square. Really, if I was an India fan I’d be fuming about this: it’s been so weird. Has he misread the scoreboard? Do you think he knows India need another 121 to win? Anyway, Rashid’s ten are done, and he’s been superb as well: 2-38 for the Yorkshireman.
41st over: India 197-7 (Dhoni 24, Kuldeep 2) – target 323 Dhoni turns down a single from the first ball, but then inexplicably does take one from the second. Nothing about this innings makes sense, unless he’s planning to go absolutely berserk shortly. No sign of that just yet, though: he plays a measured drive for a single from the last ball of the over. There are faint whiffs of Sunil Gavaskar’s famous 36* from 174 balls in the 1975 World Cup about this knock…
40th over: India 194-7 (Dhoni 22, Kuldeep 1) – target 323 The bowling has been mostly good, but this really hasn’t been good from Dhoni. Sure, wickets have fallen around him, but Rashid just gave him a shin-high full-toss and he still only bunted it away for a single. He’s taken 37 balls for his 22 runs: not a great strike rate in a Test match these days, that.
WICKET! Umesh Yadav st Buttler b Rashid 0 – India 192-7
Yadav does indeed try for some tap, but misses and Buttler smartly whips the bails off, his foot just out of his ground. Last rites now for India…
39th over: India 191-6 (Dhoni 20, Umesh 0) – target 323 Time running out now for India. Umesh Yadav is promoted a couple of places, presumably to try a little tap.
WICKET! Pandya c Buttler b Plunkett 21 – India 191-6
Now, with Mo done, Plunkett gets a bowl. He was one of the better quicks earlier and has six overs in the bank. Dhoni cuts out towards the point boundary but Roy runs round to keep them to two, then Pandya goes. Plunkett slides one down leg, which probably would have been a wide if he’d left it, but Pandya goes for the flick and gets an edge through to Buttler.
38th over: India 187-5 (Dhoni 17, Pandya 20) – target 323 Pandya goes for a big shot but is completely done by some big spin. Dhoni continues his policy of coming down the pitch and shovelling the ball here and there, but the best he can muster is a quickly-run two. Five runs from the over, which isn’t even half what they need now.
37th over: India 182-5 (Dhoni 14, Pandya 18) – target 323 Last over from Moeen: wouldn’t be massively surprised if Root gets the over after this, considering how effective the spinners have been. Still, Pandya gets himself four, just about picking the gap between the two fielders on the mid-wicket fence. He certainly looks more likely to get some big runs: Dhoni is currently batting so stiffly that you’d think he ran a marathon yesterday. He comes down the pitch and goes for a massive heave, but misses. Mo finishes with 1-42 from his ten: terrific stuff.
36th over: India 175-5 (Dhoni 13, Pandya 12) – target 323 Really, really, really good over from Rashid: Pandya takes a single from the first ball, but Dhoni can’t get any of the rest away. And he was trying, too.
35th over: India 174-5 (Dhoni 13, Pandya 11) – target 323 A boundary! The first since the 24th over, which is fairly absurd. Dhoni comes down the pitch to Moeen and smacks a sort of half sweep, half slog – but not really a slog-sweep – just behind square. He didn’t get all of it by any means, but at least they’re starting to attack. Pandya goes for a back cut and picks up three, a couple more singles and a decent over for India.
Pandya tries a reverse sweep, misses but the umpire turns down the appeal. If there was no bat that’s very close indeed…
34th over: India 164-5 (Dhoni 7, Pandya 7) – target 323 No runs from the first three balls, although Pandya does at least try a few more attacking shots. Just two singles from the remaining three balls. They’ll need something special – not out of the question – from here to chase this down.
33rd over: India 162-5 (Dhoni 6, Pandya 6) – target 323 Mo’ good stuff from Mo. Not much by way of aggression from either batsmen, and the rate is now a hair under nine an over.
32nd over: India 157-5 (Dhoni 5, Pandya 2) – target 323 Who knew that England’s spinners would nail India down? If England do win this game, it’ll be thanks to this brilliant spell by Rashid and Moeen.
WICKET! Raina b Rashid 46 – India 154-5
Raina goes for a colossal slog sweep which probably would have brained Old Father Time if he’d hit it. But for the second time in the last couple of overs he didn’t pick a Rashid googly, and his stumps rattle.
31st over: India 154-4 (Raina 46, Dhoni 4) – target 323 Dhoni offers something like an aggressive shot, and India grab a couple of runs but via leg-byes as it goes off his pads from a sweep. A slightly more productive over for India, eight runs from it, the last of them donated by an overthrow from Stokes.
30th over: India 146-4 (Raina 43, Dhoni 1) – target 323 Rashid flummoxes Raina with a googly that he’s a little lucky not to loop up in the air. But they can’t get anything away, just a single for each batsman and the required rate is now approaching nine an over. They still have their wickets in hand, but they’ll have to get a wriggle on fairly soon.
29th over: India 146-4 (Raina 43, Dhoni 1) – target 323 More good stuff from Moeen: Dhoni tries to shovel him from way outside off a few times, but doesn’t get any joy. Raina gets a single from the over, and Mo’s analysis is now 1-16 from six overs: for the uninitiated, that’s good.
28th over: India 145-4 (Raina 42, Dhoni 1) – target 323 Dhoni’s in, with his delightfully distinguished greying beard. Raina tickles a couple round the corner, beyond that a few singles from a decent over from Rashid.
27th over: India 140-4 (Raina 38, Dhoni 0) – target 323 About that drop: Roy really should have taken it, as Raina drives Moeen to the opener in the covers, around shoulder high, but he puts it down. And to compound the despair, it looks like he cut his hand in the process and has to go off. Moeen has bowled really well so far.
WICKET! Kohli lbw b Moeen Ali 45 – India 140-4
There it is! After Roy drops Raina earlier in the over, Moeen traps Kohli dead in front with one that turned a bit but not a huge amount, but did seem to keep a bit low. Huge wicket.
26th over: India 137-3 (Kohli 44, Raina 36) – target 323 After that flurry of two – two! – aggressive shots in the previous two overs, it’s back to the nudges and dabs. Five singles from the over. India need to go at 7.75 from the remaining 24 overs.
25th over: India 132-3 (Kohli 42, Raina 33) – target 323 Raina goes after Moeen, but only picks out Willey in the deep, the all rounder managing to fall over in perhaps the most ungainly save of some runs you’ll ever see. He does save those runs though.
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